The Gadget Show Live, held at the NEC Birmingham is a yearly exhibition based of the popular Channel 5 programme of the same name. Now into its 7th year, it’s an event that showcases some of the latest and cutting edge technology available to consumers to purchase. There is also a host of activities that are run during the day, all focused around technology in one way or another, as well as the “Super Theatre” shows featuring the presenters of the show. Pugwash Magazine was fortunate enough to be given a press pass to attend their press and trade day which happened the day before the main event kicked off. So we sent our editor and lover of technology, James, to check out what was there.
As a young teen, I was obsessed with the Gadget Show. I would watch it religiously every Monday evening in order to get my tech and gadget fix. One thing that I always looked forward to though, was Gadget Show Live. A chance for me to get hands on with all the latest technology and play about with it. Only to then wish that I had the funds in my bank account in order to afford any of it. Weekly pocket money only got me so far.
Years passed and my interest for the show wained. So it feel initially strange to be attending this show after three years, but even more so, as a member of the press. It’s not the first time I’ve attended a show as a member of the press, but to attend a show that I once looked forward to like Christmas felt a little odd. I had to act more professional, be more inquisitive and most importantly, refrain from all child-like arm-flailing. So I got up bright and early, dressed smart-casual and set myself on course to the NEC.
As I arrived, I collected my badge and headed into the hall to which I was greeted with a familiar sight. A room filled to the brim with exhibitors and technology from household name brands to complete unknowns. Thankfully, the format hadn’t changed – it didn’t need to. I spent a while just wondering around, seeing who and what was there before actually talking to anyone. One thing that was clear though, was just how far technology has progressed forward and how focuses have changed.
Many of the devices they would once show at the ‘House of the Future’ demos are now commercially available and have even progressed to be even more advanced. To kitchen hobs, to your hoover, in an age which is now being coined as the ‘internet of things’, everything is going online and is being made smarter. For example, Dyson’s new robotic hoover. It has a built in 360 degree camera that scans and maps the room its cleaning so it knows where it needs to go. You can also control it wherever you are with your smartphone, telling it what time you want it to be cleaning. Companies are recognising that the next step in technology is having a connected home. Products like these are certainly helping with that.
There was also your standard affair of small companies and start-ups. Some of them were packed with amazing ideas, blending physical with digital to create great experiences – there was a device you can attach to paper aeroplanes that allow you to fly it via your iPhone or Android Smartphone. This is has been something kids have wished for since the inception of the paper plane – being able to fold it, then see it fly properly – with a small piece of tech, this is now possible!
There were also companies that had gadgets which served a practical use. One company had a small device that be easily clipped onto a child and then allows the parent to track them via GPS incase they get lost. This could be a lifesaver for parents who panic about losing their kid whilst shopping.
My day at the Gadget Show Live showed that tech is advancing beyond the tech savvy exclusive. This year, there was a lot of technology that was designed to be integrated with the users lifestyle. Things that could make a consumer’s life more convenient and helpful – that was a great sight to see. As my day came to a close and I left the NEC, I saw Jason Bradbury and Otis Deeley, two of the Gadget Show presenters, coffee in hand and having a chat. The 13-year-old me would have gone mental. I would have ran towards them, iPhone in hand for a picture. But that day, I didn’t. I showed restraint, as I walked past, I gave them a friendly smile and a wave. Otis smiled and nodded back but when Jason noticed, it was too late. Although I may not have a selfie to prove it, this moment topped off a great, tech-filled day at The Gadget Show Live as Pugwash’s tech-loving editor.